Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cabin Pictures

It occurred to me that you might want to see pictures of our cabins in Costa Rica, so here they are in the construction phase.

Oops! It’s a picture of my cat, Mystery, who we decided to leave behind this time. I’ll be missing my little buddy like crazy. Next time he’ll be given no reprieve. He’ll become a Tico cat and we’ll have to change his name to Misterio. He’s bilingual, but he ignores me in both languages.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What do you take to Paradise?

You take as little as possible of course. No sense in cluttering up your new life with old baggage.

If you are planning to set up house and live with some of the comforts of home in Costa Rica, there are certain things that you might consider bringing with you from home. They're the things that you can’t get in Costa Rica or would cost you bundles if you were to buy them there. If you choose to travel light and go native, that’s wonderful. We’re a little apprehensive about our move, so we’re bringing a few things with us that will most likely max out our airline luggage allowance.

Lotions and Potions

For example, I have very fair skin and sun protection is a must for me. SPF 1000 is usually adequate. Well, an exageration, but I know from experience that the "good stuff " that gives me full-spectrum high SPF protection is hard to come by in Costa Rica. Most Ticos have darker complexions than I so there is not much of a market for super sunscreen except for to tourists. Need I say anything more than, "Cha-ching!?" On the rare occasion that I do find brands like Neutrogena or Aveeno, they tend to be very expensive, so I’m bringing my lotions and potions with me. Lots of them. All in checked baggage as personal items.

Low-Voltage Lighting

This tip came from a neighbor of ours in Costa Rica. He says you simply can’t get low voltage lighting in Costa Rica. I don’t know if it’s true, but we are bringing our own path lighting and garden lights.

Linen & Things

Soft, cuddly cotton or bamboo sheets with high thread counts and plush towels are hard to come by in Costa Rica. Although, per my aunt who lives in San Jose, you can get them, but they are expensive.

Ladies Clothes

My cousin, a Costa Rican citizen who has lived in Costa Rica almost all her life, says that the quality of clothes there is poor. I don’t know if that is true anymore with advances in global economy. Clothing sold everywhere seems to be manufactured everywhere else. The new Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) might also contribute to leveling of the playing field. Never the less, my cousin and aunt come to the US every couple of years to load up their suitcases with clothing.

One thing I do know for sure is that Ticas are built differently than Americans. On average, they tend to be more petite and less broad. Some of our American neighbors in Costa Rica admit that they can’t find larger women’s clothing sizes there.

Imagine going to a country that you can’t shop for clothes in! Personally, I’m looking forward to it. Less consumer distraction means more real living. However, I am not petite, so I am taking precautions and will be stuffing in as many clothes as can into my suitcase.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Beginning - About this Blog

Welcome to my very first blog post ever! My hope is to entertain and inspire as I take a leap into the unknown.

I was born in Puntarenas, Costa Rica forty-one years ago. My parents were passing through on a sailboat, but not before they had the foresight to secure my citizenship as a tiny baby in this beautiful country. I’ve never lived in my birth country, but I am about to complete the full circle.

My husband and I plan live and one day retire in Costa Rica. The focus of this blog is sharing my tales of Costa Rica - trying to get there, building a home there and living a happy life along the way. Stay tuned for the ride. It’s sure to be a wild one.

Sharing snippets of my life in Costa Rica

This adventure will begin in March 2007. My husband and I will leave lucrative jobs in the United States for almost nil income in Costa Rica, all for the dream of Pura Vida or “pure life” there. It sounds a little crazy, but we’ve met many wonderfully interesting people in Costa Rica who have already made this life changing move and we would like to join them.

Along with another couple, we own a piece of land and two little cabins over looking the sea. They are located on the sunny slopes of Escaleras near Dominical, Costa Rica. We will begin our first two-month stint of actually living and working in 500 square foot cabins, while finishing them. I can already share adventures about our experiences constructing these cabins, but I’ll save it for a blog on Costa Rican construction one day.

Solrisa is the name of the community that we are building. It’s a name that my husband and I came up with in our dining room in Seattle after months of careful thought. It merges the Spanish word for sun, sol, with the word for laughter, risa. Think of us as living under the laughing sun of Costa Rica. We hope it makes you smile.

I’ve always been passionately interested in gardening. During these first few months I hope to plant the seeds of a beautifully landscaped tropical paradise worthy of a few relaxing walks and quiet repose.

Tropical gardening in Costa Rica

Since we’ve stated this adventure, I’ve found very little information about gardening and horticulture practices in Costa Rica that has been useful to me. I find stuff that is too technical or in Spanish, or not specific enough for the eco-system my area.

I’m looking forward to experimenting with tropical gardening and I intend to share practical tips about what I learn.

Solrisa – Under the Laughing Sun

Although website for has not been created, you’ll soon be able to see our enchanting property and the lots we have available in our community. Stay tuned.